Fed up of being subjected to inane rowing chat for weeks, even months on end? Exasperated at being rudely awakened at the crack of dawn by your over-zealous, Isis-bound flatmate? Well, things are about to become a whole lot worse, for this Wednesday sees the start of the annual Christ Church Regatta, the showcase rowing event of Michaelmas term. Regarded as an ‘introductory’ competition, a gateway event that can lead to incurable levels of enthusiasm for all things rowing-related (the crews comprise of novices who have only recently picked up an oar for the first time), the regatta rarely disappoints. The rowers’ inexperience, the tension of the straight knock-out format and the unpredictable weather conditions are all key ingredients which form the potent winter broth that is the Christ Church Regatta, a tasty recipe which delights the spectators dotted along the river Isis, hungry for drama, mishaps and mayhem. And so in preparation for this week’s rowing extravaganza, here is a preview of what you can expect to see over the coming few days, including the basics for those of you (un)fortunate enough to have remained hitherto untainted by the rowing endemic sweeping across Oxford’s student population.
The Christ Church Regatta, Oxford’s main rowing competition in Michaelmas term. Run entirely by members of Christ Church Boat Club, it is Oxford’s largest college-run rowing event.
7th Week (27th – 30th November) – that’s four solid days of riveting rowing for you to enjoy. Racing is scheduled to take place from midday to dusk on Wednesday to Friday, and 9am to dusk on Saturday.
The river Isis. The inaugural race of this year’s regatta will begin opposite Christ Church boat-house, while the finishing line is approximately half way between Pembroke Boathouse and The Head. The remaining races will commence at Longbridges and finish at the same end-point. After the races, why not head over to the Head of the River pub to discuss the day’s major talking points over a hearty ale and some pork scratchings? The rowing chat need not end after the last boat has crossed the line.
The Christ Church Regatta is traditionally a competition for rowing newbies, those students who are having their first taster of the sport. Will the OUBC scouts unearth a hidden gem, a rough diamond, a Maradona of the waters at this year’s event? Who knows…
Because rowing is fun(?).
The rules are simple. Each boat comprises of a crew of eight and a cox, who then go head-to-head with another crew in a straight knock-out competition. Lose in the first round? Not to worry: you’ll be entered into the repecharge, a sort of competition for losers.
Crews to look out for
In order to formulate pre-regatta predictions, it is often useful to look at the results of the Nephthys Regatta – a warm-up event for its bigger sister which takes place the previous week. In the men’s section, Jesus College emerged victorious, easing past St. Hilda’s, St. Bennet’s, Wolfson and Merton in the earlier rounds before pipping Trinity to the post in the final. Under the guidance of their new, progressive coach Nick Fulton – dubbed “the Jürgen Klopp of rowing” – the Jesus men’s crew are certainly worth looking out for this year, and surely head into the event as favourites. As for the women’s section, look no further than Brasenose – 2012 and 2013 winners of Nephthys Regatta, they are bound to be formidable opponents and will be looking to replicate last week’s success as the Christ Church Regatta kicks off on Wednesday.
And so the stage is set for Michaelmas’ headline rowing event; with the Christ Church Regatta often proving to be a useful indicator of how strong a crew will be for the Torpids and Summer Eights in Hilary and Trinity, there is no reason
for you not to make your way down to the Isis this week for some oar-inspiring entertainment. Rejoice, for rowing is back! Again!